ATHENS, Ga. – (April 3, 2018) – Michael Ruppersburg recently settled three cases for a total of $2.675 million. Ruppersburg secured $1.375 million for a man who suffered multiple orthopedic injuries in a wreck caused by a 10-year-old tire, $850,000 for a man who suffered significant foot injuries in a car wreck, and $450,000 for a woman who underwent cervical fusion surgery as a result of a car wreck.
$1.375 Million For Multiple Orthopedic Injuries Caused By 10-Year-Old Tire
Plaintiff Perry Tillman was riding his motorcycle on Georgia Highway 365 in Toccoa, Georgia. Defendant Rachel Rogers, who was working for Defendant Mueller Services, Inc., was driving the opposite direction on Highway 365. The right rear tire on Rogers’ car was 10-years-old and in poor condition due to its age. The right rear tire suffered a complete tread separation, causing Rogers to lose control of her car, go into the median, flip, and come to rest directly in Tillman’s path. Tillman laid down his motorcycle to avoid crashing into Rogers’ car. He suffered a tibial plateau fracture of his knee and broke his ankle and wrist and fingers. He required multiple surgeries and was in the hospital two weeks and a rehabilitation facility for several months. His medical bills and lost wages totaled $228,000.
“Tire aging is an important public safety issue,” said Ruppersburg. “Tires deteriorate and break down over time and older tires are more likely to fail, like we saw in this case. An old tire can be unsafe, even if it has adequate tread depth. Several car and tire manufacturers recommend annual inspections of your tires by a professional when they’re five years or older, and some tire manufacturers recommend removing and replacing your tires when they’re 10-years-old. You can check the age of your tires by looking at the DOT number on the sidewall of your tire. The last four numbers are the week and year the tire was manufactured.”
Rogers had been given the tires several months before the wreck. She testified she had them mounted on her car at Defendant Turner Tire in Cleveland, Georgia.
“Turner Tire’s owner testified that they recommend removing and replacing tires that are six or more years old and he agreed that Turner Tire should not have mounted a tire that was 10-years-old,” said Ruppersburg. “But Turner Tire’s position was that they did not mount the tire. The records from their point of sale system showed no transactions with Rachel Rogers and Rogers testified she paid cash and did not have a receipt. The case against Turner Tire essentially boiled down to whether we could prove they mounted the tire.”
Ruppersburg obtained a Facebook message between Rogers and her boyfriend that allowed him to pinpoint the date Rogers had the tires mounted at Turner Tire. Ruppersburg then retained a cell phone forensics expert to forensically image Rogers’ cell phone, which showed a Google search for Turner Tire on that date. Rogers’ cell phone records for that date also showed a phone call to Turner Tire. Rogers’ boyfriend testified he saw Rogers at Turner Tire while he was getting gas across the street, so Ruppersburg subpoenaed his credit card records, which showed a transaction at the gas station that day.
The case was Perry Tillman v. Mueller Services, Inc., Rachel Rogers & Turner Wholesale Tire Co., Inc., U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Gainesville Division, Case No. 2:17-CV-00082.
$850,000 For Significant Foot Injury Caused by Car Wreck
Ruppersburg recently resolved a case for a client who suffered significant foot injuries in a car wreck, for $850,000. The crash severely dislocated two joints in the plaintiff’s foot, requiring a surgery to insert an external fixator to fix the dislocations and a second surgery to remove the external fixator. When the plaintiff’s foot didn’t heal correctly and he kept suffering dislocations, he ultimately underwent a third surgery to fuse the joints in his foot. According to the plaintiff’s doctor, he is likely to develop post-traumatic arthritis as a result of the injury and fusion surgery, and will probably require additional surgeries as he gets older. The plaintiff’s medical bills and lost wages totaled $200,000.
The identities of the plaintiff and defendant are confidential at the request of the defendant.
$450,000 For Cervical Fusion Surgery Caused by Car Wreck
Ruppersburg also settled a case for a Louisiana woman injured in a car wreck in Morgan County, Georgia for $450,000.
Plaintiff Rosella Barnes lives in Houma, Louisiana and was traveling through Georgia on her way to a wedding in South Carolina. She stopped to get gas in Madison, Georgia and was driving back towards the interstate. Defendant Michelle Glass was leaving a restaurant and pulled out of the restaurant’s driveway, striking the right side of Barnes’ car and causing it to flip.
An ambulance took Barnes to the hospital where she was treated and released. When she returned to Louisiana she saw a chiropractor and then an orthopedists, who diagnosed her with a herniated disc in her neck. When conservative treatment failed to relieve her symptoms, she underwent cervical fusion surgery. Her medical bills and lost wages were approximately $165,000. The case settled during a mediation with Joe Murphey of Miles Mediation.
The case was Rosella Barnes v. Michelle Glass, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia, Athens Division, Case No. 3:17-CV-00146-CDL.